They may be the best friends you’ve ever had, but after high school, you have to let them go.
College is the place to reinvent yourself and do things differently than high school. You should focus all your efforts toward establishing new friendships with nothing left over to maintain the old ones.
It will be hard to let go at first. Many teenagers spend all four years of high school building a core group, ignoring the fact that it will inevitably collapse.
There’s a big difference between friends and close friends. I spent four years of high school watching students change crews by the week. It’s nearly impossible to find 10-12 people, all of whom you can call close friends.
I found my place in my junior year, and I wasn’t prepared when it started to break down before I graduated. Some of my allegedly close friends had a knack for drama, and we didn’t share the same interests. It was easy for me to forget about them once I established my own contingent at college.
Still, every time I go home there are several faces I look forward to seeing. I wouldn’t communicate with some for weeks at a time, but I would always pick up right where I left off.
College brings an entirely new cast of characters, and nobody cares how big of a deal you used to be. In high school, everyone knew everyone. In college, you’re your student ID number, even if the commercials say otherwise.
It’s really not a bad thing. It gives you a reset button to press every night if you screw something up. Nobody will hold it over your head because no one will remember who you are.
Find the people who remember who you are, and won’t hang it over your head anyway.
Then, don’t disrespect them by constantly bringing high school friends to college.
At Penn State, there is a student-made drinking holiday called State Patty’s Day — a spin-off of Saint Patrick’s Day. Every year, swarms of non-Penn State students flock to State College to partake in the debauchery. To Penn State students, they’re known as shoobies — a play off the term used in the Nickelodeon cartoon Rocket Power. Penn State students can spot them from a mile away as they stumble aimlessly through town.
State Patty’s Day is an extreme example, but even for the lowest-key of weekends, keep visitors to the absolute minimum. Spend college with the people who are there with you all the time, and keep those memories in that circle.
Every day, we all see former high school friends and acquaintances on social media. Many of my old friends who went to a local college with local friends are caught in the same, endless loop of class and social life. There’s nothing wrong with staying close to home, but they never opened themselves up to new things.
Eventually, that will start to bore the hell out of them.
Don’t get lost in that loop. Go to college for college, not to reminisce about high school. Even when you’re there, don’t spend too long trying to recognize a potential friendship. If it’s not there, move on.
There are plenty of student ID numbers out there waiting for their name to be called.
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